SteamFest 2019

Sheffield’s annual SteamFest is celebrating 25 years this March and one day is not long enough to take it all in.

Behind its recently refurbished entrance 'The Sheffield Steam and Heritage Centre’ is home to a kilometre of 610mm rail track, 400 metres of 7.5, and 5 inch miniature rail track and sheds of railway rolling stock and historical machinery.

From its humble beginnings in 1994, SteamFest has grown to become one of this state's major festivals with intrastate, interstate and overseas exposure, and with patronage growing enormously.

It is more than a gathering of one or two steam engines. There are many steam traction engines, the tractors of their day, still working as a living display. Many of these have close links with the area and were pivotal in the development of the Kentish region, and Tasmania more generally.  These engines drive one of the most complete sets of displays of steam power to be seen in Australia with steam powered rock crushing, threshing, straw pressing, chaff cutting and winching being undertaken with the steam train and majestic Mt Roland in the background.

The rather quaint 2 foot gauge Krauss steam locomotive delights children through its similarity to a famous TV cartoon, complete with a real 'Fat Controller'. It also brings back memories to people who travelled on the Railton to Roland Branch Line as it ran through our town between 1914 and 1957. International visitors make up a significant proportion of our passengers, and they are spellbound by the uniqueness of this little railway, the likes of which they have never seen.

While we love our vintage steam powered machinery, we graciously accept their successors. As such there is a huge working display of historical machinery on site, chattering away like hyperactive children clustered around their stately and slow moving grandparents, still with their heads in a previous century.

Returning to our theme 'A Living Thing', we would all agree that steam engines appear to be living things; they have movement, they grunt and groan as they do useful work. That wonderful children's TV series has given them voice, and a personality. Similarly, SteamFest takes on its own being. Each event is different, and will continue to be so. It is the expression of human imagination, skills and energy.

There are so many events on the program, so many exhibits and so much to see, the best I can do is refer you to this century's technology, websites and Facebook, while I go back to helping to run a railway.

The Details
Saturday 9 - Monday 11 March 2019
Sheffield Recreation Precinct, corner of Main Street and Spring Street, Sheffield
Gates open at 9.30am and close at 5pm

Thank you to Brenton Wheare and Jill Ridgway, for Red Water Creek Steam and Heritage Society

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